betillion’s Mariya opens to Wharton eClub about working in a gaming startup (extended interview) – Part 1

Mariya Nikiforova is a Wharton MBA focusing on management strategy. Her background is in lead generation online marketing. We’re proud to publish extended interview with Wharton eClub (you go girl):

What is the significance of online marketing for a brand?

Online marketing is essential for every brand, be it a behemoth like Coca Cola or a small startup like betillion. The purpose of online marketing is to engage the user on all levels of the traditional sales funnel – through raising awareness, satisfying interest, affecting decisions, and driving specific user actions. However, the growing social interconnectedness and innovative customer analytics inherent to online marketing make it a formidable rival to traditional media by extending brand presence beyond 30 seconds of air time or print ads.

Companies will continue to invest in TV advertising over the next 5 years, but investment in digital advertising is rising at a much higher rate (Source: eMarketer). Yes, online marketing is increasingly more significant, and will continue to grow for years to come.

What are the various types of online marketing and how do I know which one is right for my startup?

Online marketing has grown infinitely more complicated, and basic search engine marketing and optimization are no longer adequate. Advertisers and brands can utilize a variety of platforms, search engines, devices, and cross-media channels.  However, I found that it is much more effective to seek a deeper understanding of the behavior of your target audience than to invest in a specific medium.

For example, is your audience mainly male or female? Women are 30% more active on social networks then men, and make over 80% of discretionary purchases. They are also nearly twice as likely to make a purchase online as men. Browsing habits cannot be simply described with age demographics, but rather by lifestyle. A soccer mom will visit sites that are vastly different from a career-climbing woman of the same age, thus it’s important to understand marketing from the perspective of user behavior.

That said, there is no silver bullet, and online marketing strategy will depend heavily on the goals of the startup at a specific point in time. Are you trying to generate buzz? Do you need sales leads? Are you building your brand? Are you addressing an urgent PR issue?

Today, marketing is inseparable from the social media conversation, which is why so many more companies are open to integrating specific social strategies into their marketing mix. Take the Olympics for example, a huge advertising opportunity where companies paid upwards of $300,000 for  a 30 second spot. Interestingly, the Pew centre found that 31 per cent of Americans aged 18 to 29 had followed Olympics coverage on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter – it makes one wonder how companies could ever pass on this kind of exposure (over 50% of advertisers made no mention of social media, while only 10% provided this information in advertising, according to the MarketingPilgrim).

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